Someone News: Design, Events, Fine Press

Publishing The Metaphysics of Water

Our vivacious editor Beatriz Haunser handed me the manuscript for The Metaphysics of Water and I fell in love with Raccoon - the enigmatic man/beast lover, companion, urban and urbane survivor, hero, joker.

I chose two drawers of 'mystery type' from our lead type cabinets to present the two voices Hausner created for the story, Seth was asked to give Raccoon substance and character, and layout followed. Someone intern, Mimi Li was introduced to comp stick and hand setting processes, and her practice towards that traditional skill set was begun.

Mimi hand set every character of Beatriz' intimate and alluring voices. She internalized the work over weeks of steady, focused effort, and experienced first hand the origins of printer, typographer, and designer languages past and present: comp stick, kerning vice, photopolymer plates, V120, blanket wash; picas and points, PMS, process; diecut, emboss deboss blind stamp, impression, grain, tooth, texture and pillowing.

These and other potent technical words are used constantly in someone's strange time machine environment - and also in the print and design industries around us. These are words forming the core of a language that remains the same for the most part, as it has been for many decades. It has grown with new uses while retaining old associations as well.

Mimi also printed the broadside - all four colours perfectly aligned and imposed, over so large a span of lead that it filled the maximum area of our press - a challenge from another time!

Mimi tolerated my constant input and direction, problem solving and hesitations with grace and gentle confidence. Together, we were striving for perfection, and Mimi's dedication to visual harmony on SUCH a deep level made it possible for us to make someone:water three The Metaphysics of Water timeless and valuable now and whenever. This patient intent has a ton of satisfaction built in for our letterpress and literary followers, and for everyone around here, all grown up around type being impressed into paper, the chunk chunk of press wheels and rollers, the smell of making poems come to life visually... we're very romantic. Very privileged.

In the long process of setting type and printing, we have been enticed into Raccoon's world with every word, again and again.
I decided on the paper and format, simulated the type with fonts available digitally in order to finalize the layout in InDesign, before Mimi started typesetting.

Mimi set, re-distributed and re-set the same lead characters when we ran out of e's.

We chose type for the head and had it prepared as a photopolymer plates with the colophon.

We reworked the colours several times in the digital layouts, determined to have them harmonize and react to one another, to create an order of appearance that will guide the audience to and through the ideas in the story, poetry. The studious and precise positioning of the folding scores in the broadside ensure that the triptych will lie flat when folded in the 9-piece someone:water series collection. Design is a powerful companion to words and images.

Beatriz will read The Metaphysics if Water at the launch

The writing is so eloquent - every word needs its due in the performance. Hausner has invited her daughter Veronica to read one of your luscious voices while she will deliver the other. Rehearsals earlier on Sunday the 19th will bring the reading together.

Thank you to Beatriz and Seth for the writing and presentation of Raccoon. For being our editor and illustrator, and for being part of someone:water.

And thank you to all the someones for making it possible to celebrate literary and fine press art again this summer, with joy.


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